Slow motion and sentiments: The anatomy of Mother's Day ads

A plea for more Mother's Days in a year, and for brands to look beyond the same old tear-jerking formula—from the guys who wrote the 'Angry Dravid' ad, here's an idea for an Angry Maa ad

Updated: May 17, 2021 05:57:52 PM UTC
Indian actress Nirupa Roy

This Mother’s Day was very harsh on me. I realised that I am adopted. When I called my mom to wish her on the day, she didn’t cry and I didn’t sense a wide smile showcasing her new molars nor a nod in slow motion. In fact, she mumbled something about me not calling her often, and that if Bill Gates had sat for CAT after engineering and completed his MBA, he wouldn’t have gotten divorced. In other words, my mother just failed the advertising maternity test.

Every year, every brand decides to ‘stand out’ with the same mother’s day campaign— mom works hard but goes unnoticed, the son/daughter decide to do something special, but always in slow motion. Mom is moved, again in slow motion. Background music picks up, to accentuate the slow motion effect, just in case there are people in the world who are living their life in 0.5x and they happen to miss the whole slow-mo thing. All parties hug, again, in slow motion.

Literally every brand almost does the same damn Mother’s Day ad. This year was no different. I saw so many of them but two stood out for me. One was from Prega News. It was brave of them because you can assume there is one big portion of their target group that uses their product hoping they don’t become mothers. Then, there was another brand for lumbar support. Even they made a sentimental ad of a son helping his mom fix her posture by sending her a lumbar support. There were violins playing as the mother took her seat. She teared up, but I think that was probably because her back was hurting.

I am not saying don’t do Mother’s Day ads. All I’m saying is not every brand should exploit my feelings for my mom on the same day. Only I have the right to exploit my mom for social media content with throwback pictures once in a while.

With this in mind, I would like to request the senior folks at Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) to introduce four to five mothers' days across the calendar year. So that all brands get more than one day to exploit big data for my mom’s affection. We can separate these days based on themes so that the advertising can be different.

Angry Mother’s Day aimed at moms who just found out five minutes ago that their kids are joining the media business; Mother’s Day For Moms Who Need Lumbar Support so our friends in the lumbar support business don’t have to slug it out with the likes of Prega News for a mother’s attention; and one award oriented Mother’s Day for creative directors and copywriters in ad agencies where we can dedicate it to mothers who are suffering from Alzheimer's or any other such Cannes Lion-friendly ailment. With these steps AAAI could truly revolutionise Mother’s Day advertising in India forever. This, and imposing lifetime bans on the usage of slow motion shots using mothers.

The writer is a co-founder of All Things Small. Views are personal

The thoughts and opinions shared here are of the author.

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